The start of a new decade is often the perfect time to create new resolutions and break those habits once and for all. From excessive smoking, nail-biting to overeating—here are tips to consider to help you kick your vice to the curb.
Determine the Underlying Cause
Knowing the underlying cause and addressing it can help you curb your vices for good. After all, all habits have a function. For instance, brushing your teeth twice a day prevents expensive trips to the dentist, and checking your email early in the morning helps you organize your day. Bad habits aren’t different, and they often have a function too.
The best way you can do this is by knowing the underlying causes. If you want to break your bad habit, you need to come to grips with whatever function that particular vice is serving and address them accordingly. For instance, mindless eating can be a way to comfort yourself when you feel down, and attending dialectical behavior therapy sessions in your city can be a great way to begin your journey to a vice-free lifestyle with ease.
Deal with the Actual Issues
Although sometimes dealing with problems is relatively easy. For instance, if snacking on junk food all day is compensation for not eating lunch, it’s clear that the function of eating whatever is in your fridge is to satisfy your hunger. Your habit is likely telling you what you need to do is stop and take a couple of minutes and eat lunch. So, instead of straying away from the root cause, address it, and you’ll be curbing lousy behaviors in no time.
Track your Habit
Monitoring your habits and logging each time you engage in one can go a long way. It keeps you accountable and helps you determine patterns in when and why the particular behaviors happen—helping you find the best ways to curb the habit.
Think Differently About Your Bad Habits
People tend to continue succumbing to their bad habits as they provide them with satisfaction. So, catch yourself from thinking of any positive feelings or thoughts about your bad habits and reframe them, reminding you of their negative aspects.
Make Changes in the Environment
If you practice the same bad habits in the same place often, it’s more likely your surroundings can trigger you over time, which can be dangerously too subtle to notice. For instance, going on ‘smoke breaks’ in the office parking lot makes the area become a cue to smoke. You can avoid this by switching up your surroundings, even in the smallest way possible.
Additionally, making bad habits taking 20 seconds longer to start is an excellent way to curb your vices. For instance, moving junk food to the back of your office pantry and making it less accessible, and adding healthy snacks upfront can make it easier for you to reach out to the healthier ones first.
Give Yourself Enough Time
According to traditional beliefs, it takes around 28 days to get free of a bad habit. However, that’s far from the truth. Getting rid of a bad habit is often challenging as they are ‘habits,’ meaning you’ve got used to the notion and applied it to your everyday life. In essence, once there, it can be challenging to shake it free. So, though some people may get a good jump start in 28 days, most typically need around three months to substitute new behaviors for a bad habit, according to current research.
However, some people may need a longer time frame, and that’s okay. Give yourself enough time to outgrow your bad habits, and you’ll be vice-free in no time.
Be Kind to Yourself
Keep in mind that habits are difficult to change since they’ve likely stuck with you for a while. There’s a reason why they’re so tough to break. Most people usually need these ‘habits’ as they go through their days engaging in good habits or routines. If you didn’t, everything you did daily you’d need to think about, so, instead, people are wired to learn and put in place habits that sustain them without giving it a second thought.
However, the brain doesn’t discriminate between good and bad habits, making it challenging to get it back out once it fits into the ‘automatic’ category. So, don’t rush things, be kind to yourself, and progress slowly.
Whether you like it or not, bad habits are bad for you—mentally, physically, and socially. Although some are more challenging to quit than others, following the tips mentioned can make the process easier for you, helping you become the best possible version of yourself at the beginning of a new decade.